A total of 129 building plans were approved by the City of Windhoek in March. This is a slight decline in the number of plans approved on a monthly basis when compared to the 134 building plans approved in February. In value terms however, approvals increased slightly by N$4.4 million to N$82.4 million in March. 91 Buildings with a value of N$100.5 million were completed during March. The year-to-date value of approved building plans currently stands at N$429.7 million, 9.4% higher than the corresponding period in 2017. On a twelve-month cumulative basis, 1,916 building plans building plans were approved, an increase of 10.1% y/y, worth approximately N$2.23 billion, an increase of 21.4% in value terms over the prior 12-month period.
Additions to properties made up 106 approvals out of the total 129 approved building plans recorded in March. Year-to-date 343 additions to properties have been approved with a value of N$324 million, rising 46.5% y/y in value terms.
New residential units were the second largest contributor to the number of building plans approved with 60 units approved year-to-date, 14 less than the corresponding period in 2017. In monetary terms, N$80.8 million worth of residential plans were approved year-to-date, 37.3% lower than the first quarter of 2017.
The number of new commercial units approved in 2018 amounted to 13, valued at N$24.9 million. This compares to 9 units valued at N$42.7 million approved over the same period in 2017. On average over the last 20 years, 14.8 commercial units valued at N$83.0 million were approved in the first quarter of the year (this value is not inflation adjusted).
From a 12-month cumulative perspective, 1,916 building plans have been approved by March, an increase of 10.8% when compared to the corresponding period in 2017. This increase is positive news as it signals an increase in private sector construction activity. The Bank of Namibia announced last week that the MPC has decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.75%, thus not following the South African Reserve Bank’s decision to cut rates by 25 basis points. The domestic economy continues to languish and monetary easing was expected as a measure to stimulate the economy. A decrease in the level of international reserves determined the MPC decision at the end of the day. This decision means that consumers and businesses are not provided with slight cost of debt relief and that it is not more attractive for businesses to acquire the debt finance needed to expand and invest in capital projects.